20 years old, USAI started Jiu-jitsu at the Mary Mitchell Center in the Bronx, NY, when I was just eleven years old. I now go to college and I am an instructor at the center. Martial arts have helped me become a more rational person and I have gained leadership skills that I apply to other tasks – it has helped my focus in terms of academics and physical health. I am eager to share the experiences I gain at the KI training camp and during the climb with other young people at the center, and learn more about other cultures and people. I expect this to be a once in a life time experience and I want to keep in touch with other people on the trip.
25 years old, KenyaI am a member of Youth Without Walls, a community-based organization located in Eastleigh, in Nairobi. We have a youth mentorship program and use boxing to engage youth and encourage young people. I have financial difficulties and there are a lack of job opportunities. I have had a very tough upbringing, revolving around domestic and substance abuse and I have frequently thought of easy ways out. Youth without Walls made me realize what life is all about – it’s hanging on when your heart has had enough, its about giving more when you feel like giving up.
20 years old, TanzaniaI am an orphan and was raised by Compassion International Tanzania at their Ngarenaro Centre in Arusha. I started to practice boxing 4 years ago and train in the open grounds of a local primary school in Arusha with my coach, Mr. Mohamedi Aboubakar. I participated in the East Africa regional competition held in Mombasa in 2013 and obtained a gold medal in light flyweight (49kg). I was nominated and awarded best Amateur Boxer at the 2013 PSPF Tanzania Boxing Awards. My dream is to become one of the greatest boxers in the world and obtain a medal in the upcoming Olympics and All-African games.
19 years old, KenyaI grew up in Maringo, Nairobi. We often lacked food at home. Lack of employment means that I do garbage collection to earn a living. It was either that of engaging in crime, as I was tempted to do so by a friend. I sometimes rely on boxing to earn a living. My main challenge is to earn money so that my younger brother can attend school and complete his studies. When I can, I train at the Mathare North Boxing Club. I started boxing in 2008, winning 34 matches and losing 6. My greatest achievement is travelling to the Youth Boxing Championship in Armenia, Yerevan, but lost my matches due to a shoulder dislocation.